You may think there is some big secret to how companies gain success with SEO. While it may be elusive, it’s certainly not a secret. There are good and bad ways to gain recognition on search engines, and some other ways that will take years to see a difference. Many of the websites that you see with a high PageRank today started out at 0 over 5 years ago. That’s not to say you can’t rise to the top page for certain keywords and do something that will get you noticed on social media to bring you even more traffic. Today’s SEO isn’t complicated. In fact, there are just five phrases that you need to learn to get started.
1. UX – User Experience
User Experience, or “UX,” refers to the end-user’s experience with a company’s online storefront. It also refers to the end-user’s experience with a company’s products and services. The user experience is one of semantics, i.e., how a potential customer feels when navigating through a company’s online presence or using a company’s product.
Understanding UX or user experience is essential to your company’s success. You may have wonderful products to sell or offer fantastic services, yet if your online UX is rated low, your company has a serious problem. End users need to have a positive experience while browsing your site. A positive experience encourages the end user to ultimately purchase your product, order your services, or respond to your message.
Do not confuse “usability” with “user experience,” although both issues may go hand-in-hand. You might find that the reason UX is rated low for your website is due to low “usability.” In other words, your audience simply finds your website too clunky to use and therefore did not have a good experience with your site.
Invest the time, resources and talent to develop high quality UX for your website. This will help your site rank higher in search engines. After all, if your audience enjoys your site, they will return to it more often, link to your site, and refer to your site in blogs, reviews and forums.
2. On-Page SEO
On-page search engine optimization is exactly what the title suggests. It refers to the manipulation of content on your webpage to optimize your search engine ranking. For example, some aspects of your webpage that may be manipulated are ALT Tags, Meta Description Tags and Title Tags.
The most overlooked aspect of on-page SEO is content. Your website needs to have well-written, thorough content that includes text, pictures, titles, sub-titles, descriptions and pictures. Your webpages should be grouped in categories, where appropriate. Don’t forget to include internal links to information within your site.
3. Off-Page SEO
On the other hand, off-page search engine optimization refers to behind-the-scenes manipulation of your website. Instead of focusing on your actual webpage(s), the focus shifts to the website as a whole. For example, building a strong presence and high quality links on online social media will help to increase your website’s ranking.
Your website’s links need to be varied and high-quality. This means that you should have links from different types of websites such as education-related sites, news outlets and entertainment sites. Other examples are links to blogs, online directories and local listings. Your links should appear on sites that have a PageRank of 4 or higher.
4. Meta Data
In terms of online content, meta data is the special language that describes the content of a web page. Through the use of Meta Tags, the content of your website is described with keywords. This information is then used by search engines to add your webpage to its index. When end users search for something online, the resulting list includes summaries and description of the website, which is the Meta Data (via Meta Tags).
Without meta data, end users will ignore your website because they cannot readily see what your site is about. Most end users will not click on an unknown site that does not appear to correspond with what they are looking for. By incorporating precise, thorough, and clever Meta Data in your webpage (via Meta Tags), you will increase your webpage’s online presence and search engine ranking.
5. Black Hat vs White Hat
Black Hat or White Hat simply refers to the intent behind search engine optimization efforts. Black Hat denotes a bad intent, while White Hat reveals a good intent. For example, Black Hat techniques may manipulate on-page or off-page information to quickly increase search engine rankings in a deceptive or ill-conceived way. While White Hat techs use industry-standard techniques to produce gradual, yet lasting effects.
Don’t use Black Hat SEO techniques for your site. It will certainly result in the removal of your site from search engines. How do you know if your SEO techniques are Black Hat or White Hat? Simply review the terms of service for the search engine, such as Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If your tactics violate any of those terms, then you are probably engaging in Black Hat SEO. Obey the search engine’s guidelines. Don’t engage in any tactic that seems too good to be true. If you employ industry-recognized techniques, your website’s rankings will increase. Be diligent, be patient!